“It’s not that I don’t want to go. I really do. It’s just that…”

Ten minutes later and I’m still trying to explain to my roommate why I can’t make it to the bar tonight. I don’t think he cares. As I talk I’m uncomfortably aware that I’m no longer trying to convince him.

It’s not that I don’t like going out. It’s not that I want to avoid people. But it’s complicated. Sitting in bed, laptop on my knees, I’m walking a very thin line. My emotions overtake me and I gasp. They almost blind me. The urge to fling my laptop against the wall, shatter it, beat the birch-white drywall until there’s nothing left is overwhelming. I can see myself fall to my knees, panting from the exertion.

My heart feels really tight.

I’m experiencing a recurring image. Me in a single sofa, arms falling loosely over the sides. The smoke rises from a cigarette clasped loosely in my left hand, curling, dissapating against the light of the single incandescent bulb. The little details are all there. The sofa’s brown, the same shade, color and texture of the sofas at home. Clothes – solid grey dark shirt, sleeves rolled to the elbows, indigo-wash jeans, black socks. No glasses – must be wearing my contacts today.

I’m dying slowly.
It’ll make a good photo.

I lie in bed for twenty minutes, the single nightlamp on. The book I’d wanted to read, to help me sleep lies untouched next to the clock. I know exactly when I decided not to go out with the others. My roommate made an innocent comment – I don’t think he realized its importance. I remember exactly how I felt when I heard that. Angry. Disgusted. Afraid. Unhappy. All together and yet distinct.

I can no longer trust myself. When I close my eyes I’m not real anymore. My limbs stretch out taffy-like and I feel inconsequential. I feel as if my pulse is rocketing faster and faster, but when I feel my neck the blood’s pumping slowly and steadily. My heart and lungs want to take a trip far, far away from the confines of my rib cage. Can’t really unlock a rib cage though, and I’m not sure my heart’s small enough to worm its way out. How can an unreal body hurt? Why am I going to shatter?

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